Fake Pain au Chocolat Will Make Your Friends Think You Went to Pastry School
No one has to know the dough was frozen
This article originally appeared on Extra Crispy
The supreme joy that come from eating a warm chocolate croissant—or pain au chocolat, if we're being proper—with a cup of coffee on the side remains unmatched for me. While most people have to leave the comfort of their couches and pajamas to partake in such a breakfast, I tend to make my own pain au chocolat on weekend mornings. Hold your eye roll, please, because I am not saying that I get up to make croissant dough on Sunday mornings. I am, however, admitting that I have on more than one occasion greeted friends or family for brunch with a warm pile of pains au chocolat. How do I do it, you ask?
OK, I'll reveal my secret. My pain au chocolat is fake (or to keep things French, faux). I achieve this feat with essentially two ingredients: frozen puff pastry dough and chopped bittersweet chocolate.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Defrost 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator and roughly chop 1 heaping cup of bittersweet chocolate (try using salted chocolate or chocolate infused with orange peel, chile, or ginger for a more exciting, albeit less traditional pastry). Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.
Place the defrosted frozen puff pastry dough on a floured work surface and roll the dough into an even 10x16-inch rectangle. Many brands of frozen puff pastry come as 10x15-inch rectangles so this shouldn't be a big endeavor. Cut each sheet of pastry vertically from the 16-inch side into 4 4x10-inch rectangles for a total of 8 strips of dough. Some folks like petits pains au chocolat, which can fit in their palm and are quite lovely. However, I take more pleasure in ripping apart larger pastries, so that's where we're headed.
Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of chopped chocolate at the base of the first pastry rectangle, leaving a ¼-inch border from the edge of the dough. Gently roll the dough into a wide log by folding the pastry over itself in thirds. When you get to the last fold, brush the edge of the pastry with a bit of the egg wash. Finish the last fold, then repeat with remaining 7 pieces of dough.
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Place each pain au chocolate on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Brush the top of each pastry with more egg wash. Sprinkle the pastries with a few pinches of raw sugar, then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.